My husband and I have been foster parents for five years and we’ve cared for 34 babies experiencing the pain of drug withdrawal.
There are a few things we hear on a daily basis:
- “I don’t know how you give them back.”
- “You can say no, you know.”
While we’ve said no to our fair share, we know that most of the time, as Christians, we are called to say yes. Yes to the lack of sleep, endless crying, doctor's appointments, falling in love, saying goodbye; yes to the devastating grief as we pick ourselves back up.
So, yeah, I can say no – but you can always say yes.
“There are no other people’s children – they are all our children.” Ann Voskamp
When it comes to caring for children, we have to be in this together.
It just doesn’t work to think any other way. It’s easy to look at the brokenness, but so much harder to step up and do something tangible about it. As Christians, we are not called to a life of comfort for ourselves.
When the videos were leaked about Planned Parenthood “harvesting baby parts”, I couldn’t stomach watching it. I hid anyone in my Facebook feed who shared and reposted and commented. I understand the severity of it and I am disgusted a video even exists, but I also see how Planned Parenthood continues to help a lot of people.
Ashley Gorman said it best, “The sad truth is that Planned Parenthood has been meeting a need that the church has blatantly ignored.”
She is exactly right. If we are going to work Planned Parenthood out of business, then the church needs to step up in ways they never have. Yesterday, in our small county, 13 children were in need of a home and a family to surround them with love, safety, and compassion. THIRTEEN.
The need is there; the homes and families are not.
But for the church, it seems the only time to step forward is to buy gifts at Christmas – or to pack shoeboxes of cheap Dollar Store items they’d never buy for themselves or their own kids. Life happens more than one brightly lit day a year and these families, these children, are worth more than you getting to pat yourself on the back as you pray over a gift or a shoebox for someone who needs you to do more than pray. We can’t continue to think packing a shoebox is all we can do to “bless a child.”
While the Planned Parenthood videos were making the news, one county in Arizona had 37 kids, ages five and under, sleeping at the Foster Care Intake office for a full weekend. Every single available bed was full; floors covered in sleeping bags and cribs. If you want to be angry about something, it’s that – 37 babies in ONE CITY had nowhere to go.
It’s easy to get angry at the parents of these children for choices they made, but you know what? They still chose life.
Pro-Lifers want to talk women out of having abortions but too many are unwilling to go the extra mile to support them when they choose life. To me, these people are part of the problem; they are Pro-Choicers wearing the mask of Pro-Life. They are making the choice to do nothing except picket and judge, pointing fingers and placing blame.
There are too many people who say they can’t do more.
They say they don’t have space in their house or room in their schedule, or they argue they have kids of their own to feed and clothe. You don’t have to be a foster parent or adopt, but we have to support these parents - biological, adoptive and foster. Sponsor a mom so she can buy diapers, shower the local foster care center or pregnancy crisis center with practical donations, offer respite to a tired single mom, become a Child Advocate. The list is endless. As foster parents, we have so many incredible people donating clothing, diapers or equipment to send home with our babies. Our friends check in regularly and write notes of encouragement to the parents of our babies.
It requires sacrifice to stand with others in the margins, in their suffering. We can’t continue to choose comfort and safety over the inconvenience of someone else’s messy life. There is a LOT you can do, and often it's simpler than you think.
When I had my first child, I was terrified. But I had a job and a husband and a roof over my head. I had my self-worth. These families don’t have any of that. And yet we sit back, proud of our pro-life stance and judge them when they screw up. We can’t continue to punish them for their choices, often stemming from their own disjointed history.
Being a foster parent has been fulfilling in ways I didn't expect.
There is something beautiful about watching families find their way - the parent’s gaining a renewed sense of self, realizing they are not their mistakes and are worth so much more than that. It’s funny how we feel the need to lead these parents in the right direction, as if we have so much wisdom to impart, but they have taught us about humanity. They have shown me my own selfish nature, and they teach me about Jesus. The ones I sat back and judged, sometimes not so silently, show me the most about love. And I’m not going to lie; these are hard people to love. But they are trying to find their way. It’s really hard to hate someone once you know his or her story. At what point did I start thinking my story was better than theirs?
There is so much more to being Pro-Life. Wanting the best for a child - their young lives saved from abortion - means we need to help them for their entire life. And this is why I believe being Pro-Life isn’t for everyone. Because even after saying all this, some will still choose comfort and safety; some will continue believing they have nothing to offer and will do nothing.
If you are Pro-Life, you need to be pro ALL lives. If you’re not then you are really Pro-Choice.
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